Book Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
When Kennedy’s mother dies unexpectedly, she is thrust into a word that she never knew existed. This new world full of demons has her second guessing herself around every corner. Her four new companions bring a chance for friendship, purpose, and possibly even love. If she can just stay out of her own way.
I listened to this on enhanced audio. That was kind of weird because there would just be random music thrown in at times. Not much enhancement for me, but the voices were well done. This book is kind of scary; so won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it (read the second on in the same week). Sometimes I felt that Kennedy’s self narration got a bit much (okay…we get that you are conflicted/scared/etc. already), but the plot was quick and kept me interested.
Quotes…disclaimer, listened to this on audio, so punctuation might be incorrect.
“I looked so happy, like nothing could wipe that smile off my face. It reminded me of a darker day when I learned that a smile can break as easily as a heart.”
“Being given away didn’t seem that different from being left behind. I understood how it felt to be broken when everyone around you was whole.”
“You can’t choose the person who really sees you. The person who knows what you’re feeling without you saying a word. The person who can make you laugh, and cry, and everything in between, just by looking at you. The one, you can imagine being lucky enough to have, or unlucky enough to lose. I was staring at him; the boy who was all those things and more.”
Recommended Grades: 7 and up
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Book Review: The Finisher by David Baldacci
Vega Jane is a finisher; she completes the final touches on project meant for decorations for others, like candlesticks or statues. One day her friend disappears into the Quag, and the world of Wormwood is forever changed. Not only is Vega discovering magical things that give her special abilities, but the whole town is forced to prepare for an oncoming attack from outliers.
I really enjoyed this book. There is a great amount of dynamic world building and a total cliffhanger (literally) ending. I’m still not sure where some of the details all fit together, so I’m anxiously waiting for book two. You just know Vega is going to get into more trouble! The audio had magnificent character voices that made some of the strange names more approachable.
Funny thought. Listening to the audio I thought the main leader’s name was Fancius. It is Thansius. The latter is much better. He he.
On rules vs. truth: “It is more than a rule, for rules can be changed. It is truth.”
On courage: “He says take them with the faith and the belief that the courage of one can change anything.”
Recommended Ages: Grades 7 and up
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Lily is constantly sick because the doctors can’t seem to figure out what is causing her allergic reactions. Epi-pens are a part of her daily life, as is her friend Tristan. As the relationship blossoms into more, she learns a devastating secret. When a horrible fever grips her, Lily is thrust into a different timeline and forced to confront another version of herself. While versions of the people in her life also exist, she also meets new people and must overcome extreme challenges in a world where science is evil and magic rules.
This is a good book that sets up for another series. The plot is interesting and I will be curious to see what book two brings. As with her most recent trilogy, Angelini bring characters through difficult situations and they don’t always respond in the ways you would expect. I would have liked to see a little more interaction between the sisters, but maybe that will come later.
Quote I loved:
There comes a day when every girl loses the stars in her eyes. And then she can see clearly.
This is Lily’s day.
Recommended Ages: Grades 8 and up
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Overall Opinion: Average
Source:e Book via Edelweiss
Book Review: Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton
Kate is shocked to discover that her family has been intrusted as the keeper of the actual Cinderella dress from the legends. Keeping a secret in WWII is tough, especially when your mom has to work, and your brother enlists. People are looking for the dress and Kate has trouble balancing survival in keeping the dress a secret.
I really liked this book. It had a nice blend of historical facts and engaging characters. I found it choppy at parts as it jumped ahead in the progression of the war, but I’m reviewing an ARC not a final version, so it is possible those transitions will be fixed. I loved the letters from the war front.
Quote from Kate’s brother in the war.
“Tell mom I’d rather have a few crisp dollar bills than toothpaste.”
Recommended Grade: 7-12
Genre: Fantasy with Historical Fiction slant
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Source: ebook from Netgalley
Book Review: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
Edie has had enough cruelty. She doesn’t leave a note, she just makes plans to end her life and stop the day-to-day suffering. She is stopped by someone named Kian who makes her a deal too intriguing to refuse. After all…life can’t get any worse. The problem is that when Edie gets close to those she wants to exact revenge upon, she begins to sympathize with the people she once despised, and now she can’t find a way out of her bargain.
Ahhhh the complicated review. Love these. When you read a book that is on such a tough topic, sometimes your own opinions and thoughts can get in the way of the review. First, I loved the creative way that Ann Aguirre dealt with the topic of suicide and what leads up to someone being so desperate. The characters are well developed and the plot interesting. There is really just once scene that I’m really conflicted about because what I think is a double message. There is a scene in the book where Edie doesn’t want to have sex with Kian because of the situation. She says “Sex should be about love or pleasure, not sadness.” Then they basically have sex but with their clothes on (he even has to shower to clean up). It just bothered me.
Quotes So weird, two of my favorite quotes aren’t even from the book:
Dedication: “For the survivors: That which did not kill us made us stronger.”
Author’s Note: “The sadness passes, even when you think there’s no hope. But you have to be fierce; don’t let anyone take away your inner light. You are important. You matter. And if you quit before you’ve begun, the world will be lesser for it.”
On normal. “This is normal. Feels like another country. But…I could get used to living here.”
Recommended Grade: 9th-Adult (language and above scene)
Genre: Realistic Fantasy
Overall Opinion: Undecided. Can I say mostly recommended with a little average?
Source: eBook from Netgalley
Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
The last book in the Grisha trilogy picks up with the Sun Summoner and her group in hiding underground; hiding that is more like imprisonment because the Apparat wants to use Alina as his own weapon. Alina knows that defeating the Darkling will be difficult, but she desperately searches for the third ampflier knowing it is her only hope.
Loved it! I always worry about the third book in a series, because rarely do they wrap up like I want. This book was tough in some places, and there were a few things that bothered me, but overall, I think it was a great ending to the series.
Quote on hope: “It was stupid. It was dangerous. But Ana Kuya used to tell me that hope was tricky like water. Somehow it always found a way in.”
Recommended Grade: 8-12 (and adult)
Overall Opinion: Highly Recommended
Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Nyx must kill the Gentle Lord. She’s know that since she was a child. But as with most stories, it isn’t that easy. When Nyx’s father makes a deal with the Gentle Lord she is promised as his wife when she comes of age. All of her childhood is spent preparing to kill her future husband, knowing that this action will most likely result in her own death.
This is more than just a simple Beauty and the Beast retelling as some reviews suggest. Yes, that is still there, but there is a lot of mythology and relationships build into the story as well. Nyx is complicated, as is the love that soon develops between Nyx and both the Gentle Lord and Shade. I really liked Nyx and appreciated that she was so conflicted, and so rough around the edges. She resents her family and her situation and knows she can be better but isn’t sure if she wants to be or not.
Quote on falling in love: “For a moment I felt like a river running down to his ocean.”
Recommended Grade: High School-Adult
Overall Opinion: Recommended
Source: audiobook (free from audiobooksync.com)